FINLEY, Wash. -- The Washington State Department of Agriculture says there are two fertilizer plants in the state that make similar products to the West, Texas facility. And they're both in the same little town.
Some outbuildings caught fire in Finley Thursday, typical busy work for the Benton County Fire Department. But just a few miles away are two facilities they hope never catch fire.
"The [Agrium] plant is surrounded large deluge monitors, water guns," said Benton County Fire Department Captain Jeff Ripley.
Even with good safety records and plans, the Agrium fertilizer plant presents some challenges.
It stores large amounts of some of the same, some times flammable, sometimes explosive and almost always toxic materials, as those in West,Texas.
Something else that's similar is a lot of plants like these were built outside of town years ago and the towns grew up around them
"You know we've got a school out in the area, they've practice some shelter type drills in the event of a release and some things like that," said Ripley.
Fire fighters say they constantly tour the plants and plan for problems and say neither facility stores explosive materials in the same containers as those in Texas.
They are also very aware how responding firefighters in Texas got too close too soon.
"Obviously you want to try to take care of the problem, you also are trying to balance the risk of the exposure to your crews, you know these guys were probably trying to catch this thing before it got to the point to where it did what it did," said Ripley.
It's a tough call for any firefighter at the big one, which one to get out first, the fire or the neighbors.